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Racing and Avian Influenza

As the racing season is approaching, I feel it beneficial to comment on the possible impact of the current Avian Influenza position. As previously published in our guidance here, despite the high level of avian influenza outbreaks, gatherings of racing pigeons are still permitted under the General Licence.

Photo: copyright Zak Waters

Therefore, inland racing is currently permitted and unless there is a change to this approach then I see no reason why our inland programme should be delayed.

At a recent stakeholders group meeting organised by Defra I highlighted this positive position and asked the question ‘what would see a change in approach’. Defra advised that pigeon gatherings would only be reviewed if there was an outbreak of a different strain of the virus, or pigeons (wild or other) tested positive for avian influenza. 

Please note that lofts situated in a 3km or 10km zone around an outbreak will not be able to take part in any gathering until restrictions within these zones are lifted. 

IMPORTANT: May I take this opportunity to remind everyone of the requirements of the General Licence.  

Ian Evans

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